A short course in Irish Sign Language (ISL) was prepared by Post-Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI) under the remit of my Department. This 100 hour course is based on the Generic Short Course in Modern Languages, which was also developed by PPLI using the new Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) and the Junior Cycle Short Courses Draft Handbook 'Developing Short Courses in Junior Cycle' prepared by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The course provides the 'learning statements' and key skills which all short courses are based upon. In this course, the emphasis is on developing communication skills in ISL at level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). At present there are no plans to introduce Irish Sign Language as an accredited subject for Post-Primary students.
A link to the course is available at: http://languagesinitiative.ie/images/ISL/MFL_Gen_Spec_ISL_28_May__Short_Course.pdf . Schools can now choose to provide this short course as part of their Junior Cycle programme.
There is also an opportunity for students to learn Sign Language during the course of Transition Year. For further information on the Transition Year programme and the modules available please visit the NCCA’s website at: www.ncca.ie/en/senior-cycle/programmes-and-key-skills/transition-year.
Irish Sign Language is an option in the Leaving Certificate Applied. Currently, there are four modules on Sign Language available as part of the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme. This course introduces students to Irish Sign Language and aims to develop their expressive and receptive communication skills. The course also develops awareness and appreciation of the Irish deaf community and its culture. There are four modules in this course. Deaf students may take all four modules instead of the Gaeilge and Modern Language courses. The first two modules of this course may be taken as elective modules by all students.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) have recently commenced a review of Senior Cycle. Key themes of the review will be to consider the range of learning programmes and pathways and how to improve flexibility and choice for students at Senior Cycle. The review of Senior Cycle offers those working in Irish education and the general public an opportunity to contribute to building a shared vision for Senior Cycle. Further information in relation to the review of Senior Cycle is available on the NCCA website at www.ncca.ie/en/senior-cycle/senior-cycle-review.